Today I received an email from the Sheraton Miramar El Gouna, one of my favorite places to escape and relax in all of Egypt, telling me that the resort is celebrating its 20th anniversary on this very day. I have written about and reviewed the Sheraton property in El Gouna before and shared the fact that I have chosen it many times as my preferred spot to take both friends and clients in Egypt when they want to visit the Red Sea. But little did I know on the coincidental occasion of my first visit to this resort back in 2003 that it was only a mere six years old at the time.
The Sheraton Miramar El Gouna is the flagship resort for the adjacent town of El Gouna on Egypt’s mainland Red Sea coast. The town itself is part of a larger planned and gated luxury municipal development that was the idea and creation of Egyptian billionaire and building tycoon Samih Sawiris. Sawiris literally took a stretch of land where Egypt’s rocky and barren Eastern Desert meets the turquoise-colored Red Sea and transformed it into a quaint but bustling community centered around what is now a yacht-filled and cafe-lined marina that attracts a mix of wealthy Arabs and Western vacationers looking for an alternative to that region’s main resort city of Hurghada down the road.
El Gouna was always my heavenly weekend escape while living full-time in Egypt too, and the Sheraton Miramar El Gouna has always been my home away from home there. It is beautifully landscaped in an eco-friendly way with Nubian-style villas that form blocks of guest rooms. And the colors are just amazing, from the warm pastels of the villas to the brilliant blues of the lagoons and the sea.
Twenty years is a blink of the eye in the span of Egyptian history that most visitors are learning about while visiting the country, but it is nevertheless an accomplishment that the Sheraton Miramar El Gouna made it to 20. The years following September 11th, 2001 and the years during and following the Egyptian Revolution in 2011 took a severe toll on Egypt’s economy. Tourism even in the most popular areas around Cairo, the Pyramids, and Luxor suffered greatly during and after those periods, and many tourism-related businesses in Egypt were forced to close.
The situation was even more bleak in the less well-traveled areas, such as the Red Sea coastal resort areas, even though these areas saw virtually zero upheaval during even the most turbulent times in Cairo and other metropolitan areas of Egypt. So it warms my heart to now see things starting to improve in Egypt, even if only ever so slightly for now. And I’m so glad that the Sheraton Miramar El Gouna, and El Gouna generally, has weathered the storms and stuck around for others to discover and enjoy in the future.
Mabrouk, Sheraton! I look forward to returning within the year, celebrating your first 20 years, and toasting to your continued growth and success in your next 20.
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